ECONOMY

Parties support more alcohol, and more tax

Political parties agreed in Parliament yesterday about the need to protect small producers of alcoholic spirits from excessive taxation. They also agreed, however, that it is the same small producers who are the biggest tax evaders. A so-called small producer (of alcoholic spirits) can only produce 1,500 kilos per year. However, in several cases, so-called small producers buy the quotas of others and produce thousands of tons, Deputy Finance Minister Apostolos Fotiadis said. Large distillers complain of discrimination, because they are taxed at 1,800 drachmas per liter produced, while small producers are only taxed 100-150 drachmas per liter. Moreover, said Fotiadis, despite the fact that there are 32,000 known distillers, only 7,000 register as producers each year. Former Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis added that you can find spirits in many outlets at prices lower than the special consumption tax, and demanded a crackdown on tax evaders. New Democracy MP Theodoros Kassimis observed that many stores sell tsipouro – a spirit distilled from grape skins similar to grappa – without any sort of labels. He asked that labeling, including the producer’s name and the region the spirit comes from, be made mandatory.